Diary Of A Busker Day 149 Monday August 29th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Millets, Time: 4:20-5:45pm. 2. Entrance to alleyway – flower seller’s spot opposite Marks And Spencer, Time: 5:55-6:55pm).
A late Bank Holiday session. There are still plenty of people about, for the first hour, at least. Just after I set up, I’m paid a visit from Anthony – 72. “There’s a picture of you in the paper, have you seen it?” he says. No, I haven’t. He takes a folded page out of his pocket, unfolds it and hands it to me. It’s a picture of a meercat. At the bottom it says MARVIN THE MEERCAT. Anthony thinks it’s really funny. He then proceeds with his usual questions about playing the guitar – and prodding my guitar as he does so. He seems to have a fixation about memorising every note on the fretboard before actually learning how to play anything. I tell him not to worry about all that, just learn a couple of chords and don’t go up further than the first three frets – as I’ve said hundreds of times before…
For me second session I move up the road where it looks like there are a few more people about – there was literally no one around when I finished at the first spot. Although I’ve seen many other buskers here (they like it because the acoustics are good, being in an alleyway), I’ve never played here, myself – partly as the flower sellers are usually here. Well, there might have been a few about when I got here, but during the small amount of time it takes me to set up (not more than 2 minutes) there’s hardly anyone. I could take it personally. You’ve got to carry on though – it takes just one person to decide to part with one £5 note. It won’t be this man – down the deserted street comes a guy with a battered red acoustic guitar with some sort of built in amplifier. There’s a racket coming out of it – he’s not playing anything apart from one note surrounded by feedback and discord. He plays over me as he walks by and doesn’t even look at me. He disappears in the tunnel behind me. I don’t know him – he looks like a beggar or “Drongo”, as Frank would say. In fact I might ask him who he is – Frank knows everyone, or so he says.